Joseph Cox Algar

Hume-Bristol 12.12.1819 - Roeselare 21.12.1881

Joseph Algar was the son of a prominent vicar. He studied theology at Magdalen College in Oxford and earned a Master of Arts degree. Due to health issues he had to drop out of university and became an itinerant private tutor. He taught the sons of the Anglican Archbishop of Dublin and the children of the English ambassador in Stockholm. Under the influence of the latter’s wife he pondered about converting to catholicism. Once back in England Algar sought out Newman, who was a convert himself and a future cardinal. Newman sent him to Faict, anglophile and professor at the major seminary in Bruges (1847-1848). When Faict was appointed superior of the minor seminary in Roeselare in 1849, Algar joined the minor seminary faculty as an English teacher in April 1850. In 1854 he was promoted professor of the English department. Algar became a close friend of Gezelle, and frequently advised him on all matters related to English literature. The two of them supervised the English College in Bruges (October 1860 - March 1861). Following the failure of this experiment Algar returned to Roeselare where he remained in charge of the English department until his death. Gezelle posthumously dedicated his translation of Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha (1886) to Algar.

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